IDEA Continued: What is Received Pronunciation?
The most familiar British accent used in film is Received Pronunciation (RP). RP was formed at the beginning of the nineteenth century, was supposedly used in court, and ‘received by’ the British king and queen. RP is associated geographically with London, and socially with the upper classes or those educated in public schools or at Cambridge and Oxford, and on a wider global scale, is associated with the British Empire as a whole.
The BBC used RP in the past as they considered it easily understandable. With the event of regional commercial radios at the beginning of the 80s, however the listener became attuned to dramatic linguistic changes including non–indigenous accents being broadcasted over the air waves.
Whatever accent or dialect is chosen, none are homogeneous and, more importantly, more diversity is continuing to take place. However, in order to adopt the characteristics of an accent, actors have to understand the nature of each sound and be given prime examples of authentic language so IDEA provides an invaluable linguistic archive, resource and training tool.
Paul Meier welcomes actors, writers, directors, and offers free use of the IDEA archive for research in film and stage productions. General use of the database is cost free, but copyright and conditions can be found on the IDEA website.
Crystal, David. Language developments in British English. The Cambridge Companion to Modern British Culture. Eds. M. Higgins, C. Smith and J. Storey. (2010). Cambridge University Press.
Fromkin, V. & Rodman, R. An Introduction to Language. (1993). Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch.
IDEA. International Dialects of English Archive. Accessed December 14, 2011.
Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, Second Edition. (1997). CUP.
Decoding Science. One article at a time.